• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


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    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    Ruminations: Driving in Vietnam

    "82 million people trying to get nowhere important as fast as they possibly can in the most inconsiderate and inefficient manner."

    Driving in Vietnam is like walking down a crowded hallway in highschool. Everyone just kinda mills around, slipping in and out of the crowd as they move down the hall like a mindless herd of cattle. The fast stay either to the middle or skirt dangerously close to the wall on the outside. Those trying to go contraflow must wait for breaks in the students to get across to their lane or also skirt against the lockers.

    Ultimately, people in Vietnam jut their front tire in front of others to get one more place forward at the light. They inch into the intersection with the light still red causing drivers going perpendicular to honk and swerve. They burn fast at a green light and only slow down at the last second. Where are they going? Usually home for lunch, or out to shop, but they fight for position as if it's the Indy 500.

    Today I saw a woman at an intersection shielding the head of her 6 year old child from the son. Everyone here bundles up in long sleeves and pants in the summer because they are afraid of getting tan or skin cancer. Yet, this woman inches out until she is in the middle of the intersection. Cars and motorbikes are wizzing all around her, as she sits there, waiting for some small opening to inch to the other side. Eventually, the light changed. She almost hit someone. I made it to the other side of the intersection before she did.

    I wonder if she realizes that her child has a better chance of dying from a motorbike accident than skin cancer? Maybe if she did, driving (and fashion) in Vietnam would be a little different.

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